Hot Hot Heat Royal Athletic Park Main Stage, Victoria BC, September 14

Hot Hot Heat Royal Athletic Park Main Stage, Victoria BC, September 14
Photo: Jason Schreurs
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"It's just nice to play with my buddies again onstage." The words of Hot Hot Heat leader Steve Bays pretty much summed up the Victoria-born band's return to the live scene after several years. With a new album recorded and plans for more shows, triple H (as I like to call them) were obviously a bit rusty, but that didn't stop them from having a good time in the afternoon sun.

Like his performance with his new band Mounties 24 hours earlier, Bays was a hyper ball of energy on stage, going down on his knees and crooning to the audience, just like in the days when Hot Hot Heat were a go-to name on Canadian indie rock festival stages. Guitarist Luke Paquin, who looked like he's finally fully embraced his inner dirty hippie, was also in fine form, punctuating the group's staccato rhythms with solid background vocals. Band co-founder Paul Hawley sported a greased back do and cool shades while he held the backbeat, bass player Parker Bossley locking into his off-kilter drumming. (Ryan Dahle of Limblifter, the Age of Electric, etc., who produced Hot Hot Heat's 2010 album Future Breeds, guested on second guitar.)

Let's face it, some of Hot Hot Heat's best-known songs, such as "Bandages" and "Goodnight Goodnight," haven't really held up since the "glory days" of the early '00s indie rock scene, especially while being affected by muddy sound, but the pure enjoyment they showed playing live together again was infectious. At the end of day, Hot Hot Heat's first live set in years made for the promising rejuvenation of a band that clearly have a unwavering connection with each other.